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Thread: Head unit replacement?

  1. #1
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Head unit replacement?

    Hey, first time logging in here in years... So I should probably have started looking into this long ago, but what's considered the best bet for a head unit replacement these days? I'm looking for;

    - bluetooth audio+phone
    - FM and optionally sat radio
    - preferably NO CD
    - NAV preferred

    I was surprised not to find much discussion of this, except for one mention of a Pioneer DEH-X9500BHS in a thread from last year. There was also mention of an Alpine unit, but it's been discontinued.

    My understanding is that the size of the Z8 enclosure is a bit less than a "standard" size so it's not a straightforward choice (or install).

    What's everyone using?

  2. #2
    I think most of us are more interested in preserving the original unit than replacing it with some soon to date new one, so beyond what you've seen I don't have any suggestions.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    I just use a small jawbone headset when I drive the Z8. I like the look of the stock head unit and the arrows based nav works fine for me.

    That said, you could probably keep the stock head unit and add those things after the fact, but you would need to find a good shop to do the work. I think it is doable but it will be expensive. I would take great care to not alter the stock head unit mounting area nor the stock speaker enclosures.

    A lot of people use their smartphone for the nav. I tried it recently and it worked great.

    I don't think the Z8 is really the car to drive if you want to have a long phone call or listen to a fantastic sounding stereo because there is so much wind noise. JMHO.

  4. #4
    Team Z8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    I think somebody on the forum (several yrs. ago) made a phone holder that used the cup holder slot in our cars...really like to have one made that matches the interior trim of the car.

  5. #5
    JC jc.guilbaud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Bluetooth in Z8

    Hello friends,
    I am reading your posts and hope I can share my experience with Bluethooth in Z8.
    I did no want to change the car at all, keep same head unit, same speakers, keep CD-changer in place, but be able to listen to my Iphone/ipod music and make/receive phone calls wirelessly.

    Last week-end, I installed in my Z8 the GROM BT3 unit (130$)

    It has Bluetooth, a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB female charger. It works perfectly, great sound and the integration in the car is invisible.

    Now I can :
    - play music via Bluetooth (up to 5 phones) or via the 3.5mm jack.
    - charge any USB device (iphone 4, 5, ipod, android, etc.) with the USB female.
    - make/receive phone calls with Bluetooth. Sound is great, and Grom microphone is perfect (located in armrest, just need to open it).

    All cables (USB, Jack and microphone) are coming in the arm rest where the old phone is. See photo.
    All cables for BT3 come from under back carpet with factory wires into the hole for old phone cord in armrest. See photo.
    CD Changer is still in his place (BT3 located behind it), but disconnected since the cables are now connected to BT3. See photo.
    Everything invisible and no new hole needed.

    I took pictures all along the process if you are interested.


    60737 - Silver / Red - Performance Package

  6. #6
    Does the stock headunit have any amplification in adition to the amp located under the seat or is it a pure tuner/controller?
    Skip Hammerman

    2002 BMW Z8 - Meisterschaft GT, PP installed, CDV delete. 100,000 Mile Club
    2013 BMW X3
    2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

  7. #7
    Z8 Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    A dated subject but would like to hear from those who have replaced their factory radio. Any issues you experienced? Regrets? Thinking about swapping the original out to enjoy more current tech. I would keep the original for a future reinstall and car value. Thanks in advance.

  8. #8
    So long as you keep the original and don't damage anything I can't see any problem with doing that. There was a period when the Alpine head unit was the go to for those doing that a few years back, but I have no idea what would be the best unit today.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  9. #9
    DSC Off
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Mine has a Pioneer DEH-80PRS in it which was professionally installed some years ago. Since the console is currently apart, I was going to replace it with a newer upgraded model. Turns out there isn't a newer model and pioneer is still selling the 80PRS. It does fit nicely in the dash, but aesthetically - well - it's a good thing the radio is behind a door.

  10. #10
    Z8 Millennial Monster 2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Mike, do you have a picture of the Pioneer unit in your dash?
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  11. #11
    DSC Off
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Pioneer Radio

    The radio fits nicely in the available space. There is a cage that gets inserted first and you bend some tabs to secure the cage (it's the silver ring around the radio in one of the pictures). The radio then slides into that until it clicks into place. Having just re-assembled the whole center console, I can say getting the radio back in there was a real SOB - everything else went together fairly easily. Getting the wire bundles to retreat into the "right" areas so the radio body could seat was an exercise in patience and try it this way, try it that way. Anyway, it's back in and - miracle - actually works. Here's a couple of pictures and the part list that was installed in this car six years ago.

  12. #12
    Z8 Millennial Monster 2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    I think that looks really nice.
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  13. #13
    That looks like what I am looking for.I have a "DICE" unit I had installed 8 years ago to play a first generation I pod, but the wife wants to plug in her i phone with 18,000 tunes on her 256 gig capacity...How hard was the install?

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